Caveat Emptor

Today I heard reference once again to ’25,000 peer reviewed studies’. This was in a discussion about micro-cell installations and EMF.

I’ve heard this phrase bandied about before in the same context and almost always by opponents of cellphone and WiFi technology. Maybe opponents is too broad – these are people worried about negative health effects of the radiated energy from these technologies.

And even though I’d been through these arguments before I wanted a refresh . . . so I asked Google to find me everything on ‘25000 peer reviewed studies’. I figured I’d find a rich vein of discussions on this topic. But that’s not actually what I got back . . .

In the results I see references to:

Digital libraries (https://books.google.ca/books?id=A2H90IxddK4C&pg=PA180&lpg=PA180&dq=25000+peer+reviewed+studies&source=bl&ots=Epb6_-KxA4&sig=u1OMltBKNUGG-34Q7KV_ntxd5i4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiB-NSGh8rTAhVE7GMKHT5RDL8Q6AEIPDAE#v=onepage&q=25000%20peer%20reviewed%20studies&f=false)

‘There exist over 25,000 peer-reviewed papers specific to cannabis’ from a WV NORML facebook posting (https://www.facebook.com/wvnorml/posts/1268595989831353)

Another one on Digital Publishing referring to the 20 to 25 thousand peer reviewed journals out there. Actually more than one listing appeared to be referring to 25,000 as a common estimate of the number of peer reviewed journals there are.

‘The “Frontiers in” journal series, supported by over 160,000 leading researchers worldwide, has already published 25,000 peer-reviewed articles across 50 journals, which receive 6 million views per month.’ – but that site is about Structural Materials in Engineering (https://blog.frontiersin.org/2015/04/16/structural-materials-open-for-submissions/)

It wasn’t until the 4th page of results that I came across something clearly related to the EMF concerns about cell/wireless technology and that was for a company pitching pseudo-science products to the fearful. Wooooo . . .

So I went back and put quotes around my search terms so Google would rank pages with the exact phrase higher and sure enough there were links to pages related to this topic first in the 3 pages of results. But on the first page I also found links to the argument over Cannabis and Diets. On the second I find links to a fight against a tax on Tanning beds, a ‘Within Person Approach to Job Performance’,

So I suspect that the ’25,000 peer reviewed studies’ statistic is BOGUS. That it was harvested from the blue sky by someone wanting a big number to back up their possibly specious claims. Their thinking process might have gone something like this: We don’t know exactly how many studies have been done but if there was even one study in each of the peer reviewed journals out there that might be a lot. So how many journals are there? About 25,000. So we could speculate that there might be 25,000 studies then couldn’t we?

And while there might be a lot of these studies I don’t think 25,000 is the correct number. But I think pseudo studies by people who think like that are definitely on the rise. As are pseudo scientific journals to cater to them.

Which is the really sad part.

People with an attitude that says studies that are done to backstop ‘ideas we all know are true because they must be’ are science are polluting the world with crap and unscrupulous people are making a buck off them. And fearful, unsuspecting people are taking all this as fuel to feed their fears and ammunition to force fear-based changes on the rest of the world.

For this reason I’m adding the phrase ’25,000 peer reviewed studies’ to my BS detector. So that if I see that used by someone I’ll automatically put their words on extra special scrutiny and regard them and their causes with extra suspicion.

25,000 studies with fear on the web,
25,000 studies with fear
If one gets debunked that’s okay and alright
‘cuz there’s 24,999 studies of fear on the web
24,999 studies with fear on the web,
24,999 studies with fear
debunk another and two pop up in its place
25,000 studies with fear on the web,
25,000 studies with fear.

 

 

 

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